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College announces new partnership with North Forge Technology

February 6, 2020

Red River College, North Forge Technology Exchange and North Forge East are joining forces to help more entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life.

The three organizations announced the partnership today at RRC’s ACE Project Space in the Exchange District; they intend to work together to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial activity, provide real project-based learning opportunities for students, and encourage investment and growth in start-up companies in Manitoba.

“We’re very excited to officially grow our partnership with North Forge,” says Haider Al-Saidi (above, second from right), chair of Applied Computer Education at Red River College. “This will allow us to expand the services we provide to our entrepreneurs-in-residence and provide our students with additional resources and technology to enhance their skills.”

RRC will provide office space, access to its UX labs, and other technological resources, while North Forge will provide access to its Fabrication lab. Each party will also engage in cross-promotion of events, services and news.

The goal of the partnership, made official by the signing of an exchange of services agreement, is to create an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that benefits Manitoba entrepreneurs and enterprises of all sizes — one that includes RRC students and North Forge’s office locations in Winnipeg, Pinawa and The Pas.

“Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are hard-working, determined and have brilliant ideas, but they may need additional help in developing their concepts into products,” says Teresa Dukes (above, at right), President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We believe this partnership with Red River College will provide those businesses with the resources, technology and knowledge needed to grow their products, reach their sales and market goals, and add value to Manitoba’s economy.”

Since 2017, there have been 46 projects completed at ACE Project Space, providing opportunities for more than 240 students to work with 18 entrepreneurs and 28 industry clients. North Forge has worked with more than 200 clients since launching in 2011, and has created more than 7,500 prototypes in its labs. Read More →

Jordin Tootoo shares story of hope, hockey and mental health at RRC

February 6, 2020

“I owe my life to this game.”

That’s how Jordin Tootoo summed up his 15-year NHL hockey career when he retired in 2018. Thanks to teammates who helped him grieve the loss of a brother to suicide, Tootoo went on to thrive on the ice for the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

On Wednesday, he shared the story of his journey with Red River College students, instructors and staff.

Tootoo’s visit is part of RRC’s college-wide mental health strategy, Healthy Minds Healthy College, which was established five years ago to foster mental health and enhance mental health literacy at the College.

Jordin Tootoo talks to RRC studentThe need for more mental health resources is urgent, says Tootoo:

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide. These issues are a national epidemic.”

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is the NHL’s first Inuk player. As an Indigenous athletic leader, he says he has long understood his responsibility as a role model. He spoke openly and honestly to an audience of more than 300 RRC students and staff about the growing need for mental health resources, and the importance of fighting taboos around discussing mental illness.

Following his retirement from hockey, Tootoo devoted his time to charity and community outreach, especially in northern communities. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics such as addiction and suicide. Read More →

Manufacturing, Nursing grads earn Lieutenant Governor’s Medals

February 4, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant Governor’s Medals, who were honoured at our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremony on Monday., Feb. 3.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to graduating students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Jessica Burzminski with her Lieutenant Governor's Medal Jessica Burzminski – Manufacturing CAD

Jessica believes in encouraging women to pursue education and careers in trades. She is not only a two-time Gold Medal recipient — having previously excelled in the College’s Manufacturing Technician program — she’s also a two-time silver medalist at Skills Manitoba’s CNC machining competition. She is currently working as a CNC programmer at Price Industries.

During her studies, Jessica tutored classmates in computer numerical control theory. Outside of school, she volunteers in junior dog handling and cheerleading, and for the Blue Bomber Cheer and Dance Team, where she provides events and marketing supporting.

Her instructors praise her drive, creativity, leadership and ability to connect with people of all ages. According to one of her volunteer supervisors, she sets an example for others through her commitment to excellence.

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Michelle Queue with her Lieutenant Governor's MedalMichelle Queau – Bachelor of Nursing

Michelle Queau has demonstrated a true commitment to helping others become their best selves. When she returned to school following an 11-year career in academic research, she balanced studies and volunteer work with parenting a young son. She received the Nursing Legacy Award in 2017 and the peer-nominated Nursing Leadership Award in 2019.

In addition to mentoring and tutoring her peers, Michelle has volunteered countless hours for organizations where she can bring new ideas about nursing curriculum and practice to the table. According to one of her referees, “When facing a challenge, Michelle perseveres. When given a choice, she always chooses kindness.”

She works as a registered nurse in cardiac sciences at St. Boniface Hospital, and as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

Public health advocate to receive RRC’s first honorary degree in nursing

January 29, 2020

The recipient of Red River College’s first-ever Honorary Degree in Nursing has dedicated herself to enhancing equity, promoting public health, and shaping the nursing profession in Canada.

Dr. Claire Betker’s nursing career has taken her from public health and primary health care to education, research, administration and advocacy. In each new role, she has reached across professional disciplines and levels of leadership, finding innovative solutions to challenges facing health-care policy and delivery.

“I believe in the power of nursing,” she says. “All nurses are leaders. Over more than 40 years, I’ve seen real change take place because of the influence of good, solid nursing at all levels.”

Among her own remarkable accomplishments, Betker led a team at the Public Health Agency of Canada charged with defining core competencies still used today for public health practitioners working in public health organizations, academia, workforce development and professional associations.

And as Executive Director of the Population and Public Health Branch, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, she helped develop public health policy, standards, programs and services that have been adopted across the province.

“This honorary degree is extraordinarily meaningful to me personally because it brings me full circle,” she says. “Starting with my bachelor of nursing degree, education has opened countless doors and prepared me well to meet the challenges ahead.” Read More →

True North to debut new jerseys featuring logos designed by RRC grad

January 16, 2020

The Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose will take to the ice this weekend in jerseys bearing Indigenous-inspired logos designed by a Red River College graduate.

Leticia Spence, who completed RRC’s Graphic Design program last year, created the logos while on a work placement with True North Sports + Entertainment.

They’ll be featured on warm-up jerseys worn by the Jets during their pre-game skate on Friday, Jan. 17, and on game jerseys worn by the Moose on Saturday, Jan. 18. Friday’s game coincides with the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets, and Saturday’s game with the Moose’s Follow Your Dreams Day.

Leticia Spence (centre) with WASAC participants“It’s pretty surreal to me,” Spence told CBC News last week, when the teams’ new gear was unveiled at the Neeginan Centre as part of the NHL’s “This Is Hockey” initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.

When Spence first designed the logos, she wanted to avoid resorting to feathers or circles with four points, symbols she felt were overused in representing Indigenous culture. Instead, she reviewed artifacts, researched the work of modern Indigenous artists, and turned to members of her family and home community — Pimicikamak First Nation — for inspiration.

“Each tribe has a visual language to express their views of the world,” she said at the time. “I wanted to show that we’re united by including motifs, symbols and patterns from many different Indigenous cultures and tribes in the logos.”

Funds raised from last year’s WASAC Night and Follow Your Dream Day went to support WASAC events taking place this weekend, when 60 students from northern First Nations will travel to Winnipeg to take part in tours and activities, including a group skate with Indigenous role models such as Olympian Brigette Lacquette.

When the new logos were first unveiled last year, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief said his initial response was amazement and pride.

“I felt proud of being Indigenous, proud of the mentorship and support from RRC, proud of the partnership between Leticia and the team at True North, and proud to be able to showcase her work on this scale,” he said.

Inset photo credit: Gary Solilak, CBC News Winnipeg

Price Family Foundation pledges $525,000 in student awards to RRC

November 27, 2019

Students in Red River College’s Engineering Technology programs now have the opportunity to earn life-changing scholarships, thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists Dr. Gerry and Barb Price.

Well-known for their altruism, the couple will donate $525,000 to RRC over the next five years. Their scholarships will reward high-achieving students by providing them with the financial support they need to minimize time spent in part-time jobs to pay for tuition, rent and other living costs.

The first award recipients will be recognized tonight at RRC’s Technology Awards dinner.

“If you can barely keep food on the table and have a part-time job just to survive, you might not be able to put the best effort into school,” says Dr. Gerry Price (shown above, second from right), chairman and CEO of the Price group of companies.

“High-achieving students need to put in long hours, but if you’re broke, you’re kind of in trouble because you need to eat and sleep too. We want these scholarships to provide more time for hardworking students to focus on their studies so they can end up being the best they can be.”

Through the Price Family Foundation, Gerry and Barb Price have been generous supporters of education, arts and culture, and health care. They already fund about 200 scholarships each year, with a focus on those who don’t always have champions — children, single mothers and families in distress. With today’s announcement, they’ll be supporting an additional 30 to 60 students each year.

“This is significant,” says Andrew Roncin, an instructor in RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program. “Up until now, our programs haven’t had as many available scholarships — but with this gift, about 10 per cent of our Electrical Engineering Technology students can receive some support each year.”

The Price Scholarships will be offered to students who are enrolled full-time in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and Manufacturing CAD, and have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 after their first year. Read More →

Ready, set, hire: Recruitment event connects industry with tomorrow’s business leaders

November 12, 2019

A bell rings, piercing the silence. In the South Gym at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, a nervous group of well-dressed students rise from their chairs and rustle towards a large group of tables — where their futures may await.

Seated at each table are recruiters from leading Manitoba companies, hoping to scope out RRC’s best and brightest at the sixth annual First Impressions Recruitment Event.

Over the next four hours, more than 500 interviews with 114 students take place here, each no more than 12 minutes long.

“That’s not a lot of time to wow, but our students always come prepared to impress,” says Kirk Johnson, RRC’s Dean of Business and Applied Art and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

“We’re known for the calibre of our job-ready candidates, which is why so many employers come back here year after year.”

“(First Impressions) is probably the most successful recruiting event we have all year,” says Aida Rodrigues, a senior talent acquisition partner for CIBC, one of the companies attending the event.

“The students we speak with are all well-prepared for industry. The faculty here has lots to do with it. People who’ve worked in banking and finance know how to prepare students for success in positions like the ones we’re hiring for.”

First Impressions is open to all students in RRC’s Applied Accounting, Business Administration, and Commerce Industry Sales and Marketing programs. The companies they meet are all looking to fill paid, full- and part-time, entry-level/trainee positions and higher. Read More →

College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

RRC’s staff team pulls out a win for United Way Winnipeg

September 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Red River College staff and students rolled up their sleeves for United Way Winnipeg’s 16th annual Plane Pull — in which RRC’s staff team logged the fastest time for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules pull.

The team of employees — made up of administrative staff, educational assistants, instructors, and College leaders — pulled the plane 20 feet in 11.12 seconds. The RRC Stevenson Campus student team pulled the Boeing 727 the same distance in 16.45 seconds, for a sixth place finish.

“I was happy to be part of a great team from Red River College” says Joan Machendagoos, administrative assistant for Skilled Trades and Technologies at RRC. “This gave us the opportunity to meet staff that we only see in emails, and to bond as a team. Giving back to the community was a bonus.”

RRC's staff team pulling planeRRC’s Stevenson Campus was once again the proud facility sponsor, providing the campus hangar and volunteers for the fundraising event, which launched the 2019-20 United Way Annual Giving Campaign. This year, the organization announced it’s seeking a goal of $21.6 million for more than 100 agency partners, all of which benefit Winnipeg residents.

The Stevenson Campus — a 55,000-square foot training facility, complete with aircraft hangar — is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs, making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull to take place each year.

“Next year we hope to have a few more teams so we can not only be the top team for the best pull time, but also have the highest fundraising teams,” says Machendagoos.

More than 80 teams participated in the 2019 Plane Pull, raising more than $88,000 towards United Way’s campaign goal.

Apprenticeship bricklayer to represent Canada at WorldSkills Competition in Russia

July 31, 2019

What started as a summer job for 22-year-old Antonio Neufeld has turned into two years of travel, mentorship and fierce competition.

The Red River College Apprenticeship student will represent Canada this month in the bricklaying category of the 2019 WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia, where he’ll face off against 29 competitors from around the world.

“It all started when I came to the College for Level 1 (of the Apprenticeship Manitoba program),” Neufeld says. “I competed in the Skills Manitoba provincial competition here and it’s gone on from there.”

After taking the top spot at provincials, Neufeld earned the gold medal at the 2018 Skills Canada National Competition in Edmonton. He travelled to Halifax, Montebello and Ottawa for teambuilding and training, and to Australia with 13 other WorldSkills Team Canada prospects for a mock competition.

Antonio Neufeld, RRC masonry lab“It’s all been a great experience. Going to Australia helped because you got to see where the other competitors are at in their skill and get a feel for what the competition will actually be like,” he says.

Neufeld has been training with his instructor, Brian Gebhardt, every day for the last two weeks, with a focus on learning how to think on his feet.

“Antonio is the best man in Canada in his age category,” Gebhardt says. “His basic skills are very good, so what he needs to do is figure out how to approach and attack the situation, and use time management to complete the task. The projects they come up with at the WorldSkills Competition are very ornate in nature and require a lot of experience.” Read More →